“How to NOT Suck at Social Media” Notes

written by Malcom McCutcheon in 2013.


The book intends to teach business owners who are new to social media the most effective ways to be successful using basic social media skills.

In relation to Baym’s 4 major social discourses

Social construction of technology: he is teaching people how to best utilize the SNS technology to their advantage 

Domestication of technology: he encourages business owners to incorporate the use of SNSs into their daily business practices and routines


The audience is intended to be people who have very minimal knowledge of social media practices and those who want to learn how to establish a presence on SNSs to improve their businesses. The audience definitely affects how in depth he addresses social media use. It’s hard to tell whether the the language, instructions and advice are dumbed down purposefully, or if the author just lacks a deeper knowledge of the subject. The entire style of his work is very elementary and convenient to understand for perhaps an older or less tech-saavy individual.

Brief overview of the book:

Goals to achieve on Social Media:

1. To NOT suck (this goal in itself is rather meek and subpar. To NOT suck does not equate to actually succeeding or becoming great

2. To engage with your current and prospective customers

3. To build your “tribe.” 

4. “To network, damnit!”

Class concepts that should be applied

1. Self-branding 

2. Free labor (Andrejevic/Terranova): the concept of businesses pushing out their own content freely on social media

3. Social ties (Weber/Mitchell): the author focuses too much on the technical instructions of making SNS accounts and should focus more on how to create social ties and actually socialize via the accounts. 

4. Facework (Goffman): he discusses a separation of personal and professional life, which could be advanced with a discussion of front and back stage. Though most evident in celebrity social network profiles, businessmen should also have a grasp on this concept.


As earlier mentioned, the intended audience of this book does not include young adults who are already capable or knowledgeable of social media workings. It is therefore not an engaging text that provides any new information for students in a social media class like myself. The content of his book mimics the “FAQs” or “Tutorial” sections of a social media website and offers very little depth to the power of social media itself. This could be in part because the author himself is not eligible to be advising others. His social media “capital” is rather lacking – as is evident in his Twitter account which has only collected a total of 165 followers. Keeping this in mind, it is necessary to re-evaluate whether McCutcheon is a reliable author to be taking advice from, regardless if you are a new social media user starting from scratch. In addition to the subpar quality of content in the book, McCutcheon’s writing style and voice, which is meant to convey a sense of humor, completely falls flat. 



  1. […] at social media. The first is, simply, to not suck. As my classmate Chelsea W. points out in her notes, this goal is rather fruitless since not sucking is not equated with actually succeeding or using […]

  2. […] eye when questioning the overall integrity of this book was brought up in Jasmine (@jazzyook) and Chelsea’s (ChelseaW11) notes. They both pointed out the lack of amount of followers that McCutcheon has. On […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s